Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Columbus Blue Jackets. They're in the NHL.

The excellent hockey blog Puck Daddy has a write-up about the Columbus Blue Jackets. Naturally, the team responded with a brain cramp, losing 7-3 to the Dallas Stars last night.

A Columbus native, I've followed the team and make it back for a game every year. I waited to get a CBJ sweater...until Rick Nash was drafted. To me, he was the first franchise player. (Bethany's Hockey Rants has a great post about this. Here's a sense of his talent.) Former general manager/dictator-for-life Doug McLean stayed too long, but now there's real leadership in the front office with the shrewd GM Scott Howson and on the bench with benevolent drill sergeant/coach Ken Hitchcock.

Some say this season is a retread of last year. I say the team needed time to gel. Now they're playing for each other. Last year, the team exceeded expectations and played over their heads. This year, they are playing for each other (and the fans), venturing into the unknown. It's a crowded, competitive west and the Blue Jackets may find themselves on the outside. I believe this team will summon the will to win and play for the Stanley Cup.

You can follow the Blue Jackets playoff chase here.

(Photo credits: Barry Melrose Rocks, via Lost Lion, top; Bluejacketsxtra, above.)

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